After its unveiling at the Fireman’s Convention, the Ocean City Fire Department is set to formally dedicate its long anticipated new fire boat designed to make the waterways of Ocean City safer for residents and tourists. Completion of the 35 foot vessel is a project over two years, and thousands of hours of labor, in the making. It cost approximately $540,000 to build, but is a wise investment of both time and money for a town with so much waterfront property for fire and rescue personnel to patrol and protect, including 688 public boat slips, 465 boat racks, thousands of residential waterfront properties, and nine marinas.
The Ocean City Fireboat 1 is a marine-grade aluminum boat that will drastically reduce response times to emergency calls because it is operational in as little as 6 inches of water and does not have to follow marked channels as it navigates the bay. The Ocean City Fire Department partnered with Moore Boat, LLC on the construction and customization of this floating fire station to ensure all emergency response needs and safety concerns were addressed in the finished product.
The ship is powered by twin Yanmar SLV-350 diesel engines and will house a twin American Turbine SD-301 powered water cannon capable of pumping over 1200 gallons per minute, a thermal camera, an infirm/triage area within the pilot house, storage for medical backboards and other rescue supplies, a 500 pound capacity lift crane, foam storage to fight petroleum based fires, equipment for putting out dock fires, and diving gear. It can also be integrated for land use if necessary. It can be used both as a hydrant to supply fire trucks and has attachments for up to 4 hand held hoses.
Leighton Moore, president of Moore Boat, has been personally using a similar model watercraft, which he likens to a large skimboard because of how it displaces water, to quickly commute across the shallow bay and hidden sandbars between his West Ocean City home and other other business, Seacrets, for 15 years. He says the boat “ is complicated, it’s inventive, and it’s one of a kind,” but is a strong supporter of the concept and it’s ability to improve safety in Ocean City. His desire for his city to have the best boat in the business went a long way in his company constructing the prized vessel for well under what it could have cost.
As Moore claims, “there’s never been a boat like this built for fire and rescue,” but there will be soon. With the Ocean City Fireboat 1 finished and sea-tested, plans for 4 more similar vessels are already in the works. In the meantime, Ocean City is thankful to have the most innovative and revolutionary fire boat ever built at its disposal in the event of emergencies.